“Mystic, Like the Orbit of the Planets around the Sun;” al-Ghūrī Tanūra Sufi Dance Show

Sent On: 
Thu, 2018-10-11
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Foreign interns come to Egypt to explore the country. This happens in many different ways. French student Camille Balcou has been excellent in teaching three disadvantaged youth with big learning gaps. That has become an important area of work for our NGO.



Camille, a world traveller and a first time visitor in Egypt, also explored Egypt and was referred by a friend of her to the traditional al-Ghūrī tanūra Sufi dance show. Camille was fascinated by it, got photos, and wrote a wonderful text for Arab-West Report that shows her fascination. Camille explains Sufism as “a mystic and esoteric branch of Islam that appeared in the early age of Islam but organized itself in several distinct fraternities, the tarīqa(road), and propagated in Africa until Senegal and India.” Sufism, she writes, “is based on the idea that all realities, including the Holy Qurʾān, have two aspects: a visible and exterior one and a hidden, interior one. A spiritual state is then necessary to access this knowledge of the divine. Introspection and renunciation of the ego, the nafs, are the key. “Recitation, prayer circles, singing and dancing are all needed “to enter a superior state and to make their way to God.”



The whirling dervishes belong to the Mevlevi order, founded in the 18th century in the Ottoman Empire. “The spinning imitates the orbits of the planets around the Sun; metaphor of these believers with the universal divine.” This practice gave rise to the form Camille has witnessed. Her text is truly very nice reading. Please click here to read the full text.



October 11, 2018


Cornelis Hulsman

Editor-in-Chief Arab-West Report